When Facebook built the Menlo Gateway phase of its Menlo Park headquarters, the company knew getting employees around would be paramount. So the sprawling complex includes three parking structures, the first of which was designed to be a one-stop mobility hub that would give employees lots of choices for getting from point A to point B.
The mobility hub includes lots of traditional parking, but it also lets employees connect to the campus shuttle system, drop off or pick up bikes, lockers and showers, and features expanded pick-up and drop-off zones, and charging stations with valet service to keep vehicles moving into and out of charging spaces as their vehicles reach capacity.
The mobility hub is hailed as a glimpse of the future of parking, both on campuses and in cities, and it’s profiled in this month’s Parking & Mobility magazine. Take a deep dive into the new structure and what its construction might mean for the industry going forward–read it here.
A few nights ago, I was finishing a design project for my local chapter of a national nonprofit. As I looked up some identity guidelines, I stumbled across the national organization’s suggested social media posting frequency. It recommended starting with five social media networks and making 60 to 151 posts weekly across those networks–for an organization running solely on volunteers. If you’re wondering what’s too much, that is too much for nearly every local chapter of that group; in fact, not even the national organization posts that frequently.
I believe this is where taking on social media becomes intimidating. Many tell you what you should be doing without taking into account the resources needed to accomplish those goals. Most businesses do not have an entire team of people devoted solely to social media to create that volume and level of content. It can make you want to give up before you start!
The ultimate goal of social media is being a valuable presence to your target audience, and you know your customers better than anyone else does. Identify where they are online and what you believe interests them. Tailor your posts on those networks to those interests. Assess your available resources to determine which networks you can successfully take on and remain active. Post when you have something worth sharing; you don’t have to post just to be posting.
Your audience wants you to be present and helpful on at least one network. Focus on their needs, and your strategy will come.
Stacy Stockard is media relations coordinator at Texas Tech University. She will present on this topic at the 2019 IPMI Conference & Expo, June 9-12 in Anaheim, Calif. For more information and to register, click here.
Years ago, as social media started to explode, many had hesitation about using it for business and professional purposes. I remember attending several sessions even at the IPI Conference about the role of social media in a parking operation. It certainly takes a thick skin to be on social media in parking and respond to customers, like other service-based industries.
One thing I learned early on about using social media is that people appreciate being answered, acknowledged, and even corrected at times. It’s time consuming but worth the effort if you can use the tools to your advantage, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit among others. As it’s tough to communicate when you’re limited to only being able to send occasional emails and knowing that not everyone drops by the parking website like they do espn.com, using social media to share information, often in smaller, more digestible chunks, has been helpful. Compared to an email where you are only communicating with one person normally, via social media, you can have everyone see your answer which will then often save others from emailing you with the same question. Often if our office gets the same question over and over via email or by phone, we’ll use social media to post and clarify whatever the confusion is about.
So for those still on the shelf about using social media in your parking operation, my advice is try it and have fun with it!
Josh Cantor is director of parking and transportation at George Mason University.